It can be quite the jungle to navigate through when it comes to finding the right camera for you.

Choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless option can be confusing if you don't know the difference. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about mirrorless cameras!

While you're at it, you can also check out our article on camera equipment. Here you will find all the necessary and helpful accessories and equipment you need on your next shoot!

woman holding mirrorless camera

What is a mirrorless camera?

A mirrorless camera is a camera that has one removable lens, opting out of the optical viewfinder or reflex mirror you typically find in a DSLR camera.

This makes the mirrorless camera simpler and lighter than a DSLR camera, making it the compact solution in most cases. Furthermore, the mirrorless cameras use a digital imaging sensor to create a digital preview of the frame.

The lack of a mirror means that you can see the exposure and contrasts directly on the screen as opposed to the DSLR cameras.

How does a mirrorless camera work?

The way a mirrorless camera work is simple compared to a DSLR camera. Light passes the image sensor and goes through an electronic viewfinder and the shutter. It then reaches the lens and is ready to snap a picture.

There are several more mechanisms on a DSLR camera, which is why mirrorless cameras are significantly lighter.

Uses an electronic viewfinder rather than an optical viewfinder

The use of an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical viewfinder is how the mirrorless cameras can project the correct preview onto the camera's screen.

However, this also means that you are using significantly more power, as the electronic viewfinder needs power at all times. That's why mirrorless cameras tend to have shorter battery life.

mirrorless camera with lens

5 benefits of a mirrorless camera

Every camera available has its upsides and downsides. There are plenty of benefits to using mirrorless cameras.

We have listed the five biggest reasons to go mirrorless!

1. More compact and lightweight

You're probably tired of hearing about it by now, but the mirrorless cameras really are more compact and lightweight. This may not be interesting to you if you have a studio setup.

But if you like to be on the move and walk around with your camera, a lighter camera will be a dream. The difference in weight might seem small to you, but it will be noticeable once you've walked around for a few hours!

It is also handier when it comes to traveling, as it doesn't fill up as much space in your luggage or backpack. That means you have more room for snacks or other fun stuff.

2. Electronic viewfinder for image preview

Having an electronic viewfinder for your image previews is a dream and a half. It will change the way you approach photography forever. It shows exactly what your picture will look like.

That means you can easily determine whether or not your exposure and contrast settings are functioning. It makes it easier to make small adjustments immediately to capture the best photo possible.

It can also let you preview images in different color modes such as monochrome and black & white.

So if you have a specific style, you won't have to wait to see how your results will look. This is great for new photographers who don't fully grasp the technicalities of photography.

small mirrorless camera

3. Less prone to shaking with IBIS

IBIS, or in-body image stabilization, is a mechanism in the camera that allows the sensor to move slightly to compensate for any camera movement.

With the absence of the mirror mechanism that DSLR cameras have, mirrorless cameras are less prone to produce shaky pictures.

This is ideal for anyone who loves shooting handheld, as it counters the inevitable shaking that occurs from anyone who doesn't have the hands of a surgeon.

This is also another good reason why mirrorless cameras are so great on the go. It can help eliminate scenarios where you would need to carry around a tripod to capture good photos.

IBIS is especially good for low-light photography, as the photos tend to get disturbed when the camera is operated by unsteady hands. This makes the mirrorless cameras exceptionally good for videography in low-light scenarios.

4. Silent mechanism

As mirrorless cameras have a small number of mechanisms that make them work, it also means that there are fewer moving parts within the camera. This means that the camera is vastly more silent than in a DSLR camera.

So if you prefer shooting discreetly, it is definitely something to consider when getting a camera. This is especially useful if you're planning on shooting pictures of wildlife and you want to avoid the shutter scaring the animals.

It could also be that you're taking photos at a conference or event and don't want to disturb the speakers on stage.

5. Higher shooting speed

The mirrorless option typically has a high shutter speed and a better ability to focus than a DSLR. That is because the mirror typically limits the number of pictures a DSLR camera can capture.

The mirrorless cameras are not limited by this. This means that you can shoot at a much quicker pace, useful when you want to capture a subject in motion.

sony mirrorless camera

What is the difference between mirrorless cameras and DSLRs?

We have already touched upon a few of the differences between a mirrorless camera and a DSLR.

Here we've listed a few advantages to each camera type to make it easier for you to decide which one fits you best!

DSLR advantages

1. Mirrorless has fewer accessories

Mirrorless cameras are still fairly new in the photography business. It has only gained its popularity within the past decade, which means that it still has a smaller but sufficient market share.

This also means that there are fewer accessories available to mirrorless cameras as opposed to the DSLR. That is only natural, as the market share is smaller.

However, as mirrorless cameras become more popular you could hope that more and more accessories will be released on the market.

But for now, the DSLR cameras are ways ahead in this department, and if you love a good accessory kit, the DSLR would probably be the safest choice.

2. Mirrorless cameras have a less accurate autofocus system

While the mirrorless may have a quicker focus, its autofocus isn't as efficient as the DSLR's. That's because a DSLR uses phase detection which is better for accurately measuring the distance between the lens and subject.

Because the mirrorless camera uses contrast detection, it is more prone to look for contrast when there's a lack of light. This makes the DSLR camera slightly better at autofocusing.

3. DSLRs perform better in low light

While mirrorless cameras have their IBIS, they also have a smaller image sensor size. This means that they typically let in less light, and as a result, they're typically a bit worse than DSLR cameras in low-light situations.

This is not to say they are useless in low light situations, as the IBIS helps a lot, but generally, the DSLR cameras perform better due to their sensor size.

nikon mirrorless camera

Mirrorless advantages

1. Mirrorless cameras offer better stabilization

While we have already touched on this subject, it is worth mentioning again. The mirrorless option has more image stabilization due to its minimalistic sensor design.

This makes the cameras ideal for shooting on the go, whether you're doing street fashion photography, travel vlogging, or something similar.

Combined with its compact and lightweight design, you just won't find a better option unless you are content with using your smartphone.

2. Mirrorless cameras shoot faster

As mentioned earlier, mirrorless cameras have a faster shutter speed. This makes it ideal in situations where you're required to take photographs in quick succession of each other.

If you're trying to catch a moving car, football player, or a gazelle it is especially helpful that you're not limited by the mirror in the camera.

Just know that if you choose to shoot fast, you're gonna spend a lot of time scrolling through the best image, and you should probably have a few SD cards handy. But that's a luxury problem if you ask me!

3. Mirrorless cameras offer real-time image preview

The mirrorless camera offers real-time image preview with their electronic viewfinder, which is great for new photographers and experienced alike.

It reduces the chance of you going home with a bunch of images where the exposure or contrast is off, as it can be hard to see directly on the screen to an untrained eye.

shooting with a mirorless camera

Explore the best mirrorless cameras

I hope this article helped you in your quest to find the best camera type for you. You can find inspiration on your next camera in our article on the best mirrorless cameras.

If you're not entirely sure which options work best, there's no reason to go out and spend thousands on a new camera. You can easily rent or subscribe to a mirrorless camera right here on Wedio!

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About the instructors

Gustav Sloth

Gustav Sloth

Filmmaker

Aarhus, Denmark

Gustav Idun Sloth is a filmmaker and a co-founder of Movimentum together with Marcus Hasselgaard. They are two creative minds who are passionate about making movies and telling stories.

Kristian Kettner

Kristian Kettner

Film Creator

Risskov, Denmark

Kristian Kettner is a colorist, workflow specialist, and film creator. He started with wedding videography to being the lead colorist on a feature film.

Mazdak Luyeh

Mazdak Luyeh

Creative Philosopher

Copenhagen, Denmark

OUTFOX, founded by Mazdak Luyeh, is a bold Danish PR and communication agency that gathers clever ideas and tell amazing stories with visual expressions that focus on quality.

FAQ

What is a mirrorless camera?

A mirrorless is a camera that doesn't use a reflex mirror that is used in DSLR cameras.

What is a mirrorless digital camera?

A mirrorless digital camera is a camera that doesn't use a reflex mirror, making it lighter and more compact.

What is the purpose of a mirrorless camera?

The mirrorless camera ways less than a DSLR and is more compact. It makes it easier to transport around.

What is a mirrorless camera vs DSLR?

A mirrorless camera is lighter in weight, more compact, offers a real-time preview of the picture, and shoots faster. A DSLR has more accessories available, has more accurate autofocus, and performs better in low light.